WASHINGTON, D.C. – Defender Sam Duininck’s header during the 71st minute helped to propel the Liberty Flames to a 1-0 victory over the American Eagles, Saturday afternoon at Reeves Field.
After the first 70 minutes of play went scoreless, the Flames converted their ninth corner kick of the contest for the game’s lone score. Off a corner kick, midfielder Tim Harbison lofted a pass to the far post for Duininck, who headed the ball into upper left-hand corner at 70:45 for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
The Flames’ defense and goalkeeper Sam Chappell, making his first start of the year, then prevented the Eagles from finding the equalizer over the final 18 minutes to close out the 1-0 win. During the span, Chappell made three saves, as American attempted six shots looking to tie the contest.
With the win, Liberty moves to 3-2 on the season and snaps a two-game losing streak. American drops to 2-3-2 and snaps a two-game unbeaten streak for the Eagles (1-0-1).
The game’s opening half saw tightly-contested play with neither team able to break onto the scoreboard. Each time had six shots in the period.
The goalkeeper from each squad got into the action early. Chappell made his first save of the year during the sixth minute on a shot by American defender Conor Osborne. Eagle goalkeeper Billy Knutsen recorded his first save of the contest in the eighth minute on a shot off the right foot of Liberty midfielder Jonatan Torres.
Knutsen was also forced to a make a save during the 32nd minute off a shot by Flames forward Kyle Breitmeyer.
Chappell sent both teams to halftime scoreless by corralling a header by American’s Michael Cherry off a corner kick during 44th minute.
Shots were at a premium during the first 25 minutes of the second half, as both teams turned in solid defensive performances.
In the 71st minute, Liberty broke through off Duininck’s goal to take a 1-0 advantage, it never relinquished. The senior’s goal was the first marker allowed by the Eagles over its previous 281:19. American entered the contest having posted back-to-back shutouts in its last two games.
The Liberty defensive then held solid during the game’s waning minutes, as the Flames recorded their third shutout of the year. The Eagles’ best opportunity to tie the contest came during the 89th minute on a corner kick. However, Chappell was there to make two saves to keep the Flames in front.
Host American held an 18-9 shot advantage and a 12-9 edge in corner kicks.
Chappell recorded a career-high seven saves for the Flames. Knutsen made three saves for the Eagles.
Liberty returns home to Osborne Stadium on Tuesday for a Big South Conference match against the VMI Keydets. Match time is scheduled for 6 p.m.